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Does anyone here have a small dog?

Posted by chicken lady 
Does anyone here have a small dog?
February 26, 2013
It seems that I am going to aquire a small dog. I have big dogs, but I've never owned a small one before and Im kind of at a loss as to how to handle him. Backstory: I foster sometimes for my county shelter. About 6 weeks ago, some breeder comes in with this dog and says her kids dont want him any more. No reason why, no bad behavior listed, they just dont want him. so they we're going to, and I quote, "either shoot him, dump him somewhere or drop him off here". ranting Lovely.

So it's been just over a month and he's no showing well... he's black (I'm familiar with Big Black Dog syndrome, didnt realize little dogs were affected by it too), he's hand shy and he's a nervous pee-er. So they ask me if I can come take a look at him, maybe foster him and get him socialized. They try to keep the kill rate down, but they are space based, and need room for more adoptable dogs. His time is short there.

So I go get him, and he bonds to me immediately. He wants to be held, follows me, sits at my feet. So I take him home. He's been with me for a couple of weeks now (I named him Wolf). He's very attached to me, although I can't figure out why. I'm still trying to figure out a food/potty schedule for him that makes eveyone happy, he's still having an accedent or two, but they happen when I'm asleep, I suspect. I crate him when I have to leave. He's still a nervous nelly, and I don't let anyone else pick him up or he'll pee. If I've been gone for awhile, he shakes. Any thoughts? Feed him once or twice a day? Early or late? Soothe him or ignore him? I've gotten rather attached to him and may just keep him with me, but I want to do right by him.

Other pertainant info: he is (by best guess) a chihuahua/terrier cross of some sort, about 14-15 lbs. He'll have to live with 2 other very large dogs, which so far doesnt seem to be an issue.

Re: Does anyone here have a small dog?
February 26, 2013
As the dog becomes more comfortable the potty problems will disappear. Until that happens all you can do is walk him as often as possible and clean up after him. He bonded to you as quickly as he did because he saw you as the only friend he had in the world. From your post I get the impression that the breeders who gave him up didn't spend any real amount of time with him.

Feeding is something I don't put a schedule on in the very beginning. Leave a bowl of food where he can find it. As soon as he gets comfortable you'll be able to see what times he likes to eat.

The best advice I can give is to be patient and let him take all the time he needs to get comfortable. If he's shaking comfort him. The little guy just got his world rearranged and he doesn't know how to handle that. Let him sleep with you. Keep him in your lap while you're watching TV. If it's possible take him with you when you're out running errands.

The biggest difference I saw between the big dogs and the little dogs is that the little dogs often seem fragile. I've always been more comfortable with sixty pound Archer than I was with four pound Baxter in the beginning. Don't treat Wolf like there's a huge difference between him and the big dogs. He'll adapt faster if you don't.

I understand where you're coming from when you compare the big dogs and the little dogs. In the beginning they're scary. In the beginning I thought Baxter would break if I picked him up. Time and comfort are the best things for Wolf right now. What helped the most in Baxter's case was talking to him in a normal voice. Don't use baby talk just use your normal voice. Baxter doesn't care what shade of lipstick I'm wearing or what I watch on TV but I ask him anyway. The point in doing that is that he has your attention and gets to know you.

I'm here if you want to talk. Always feel free to drop me a line.
Re: Does anyone here have a small dog?
February 26, 2013
Heh. FIVE little dogs in our household smile rolling left righteyes2 I'd love to make it six; I fell in love with this feller; but it's just not practical

Small dog = small bladder = harder to hold it in when nervous or stressed. At least your pupster isn't a pooper. One of our fuzzbutts drops a deuce whenever we take him to the vet :goggle

Just give him all the lovin' you can spare and use positive reinforcement when he does his thing outside. When I was house training our Chins, I looked silly, lavishing praise and showing my dogs all sorts of fatuousness when they were learning to potty outside. Though, as Satan suggested, don't use the baby voice. Just show him that he's the bestest dog in the world when goes in the proper spot.

As to how he acts toward the big dogs and vice-versa, it's a matter of close supervision until all the personalities get sorted out. I've seen big dogs cower when my gang surrounds them.

And kudos to you for doing this. I always like reading rescue stories, even though I hate that rescues have to be done thumbs upwink
Re: Does anyone here have a small dog?
February 27, 2013
My friend put me onto a "Little Black Dog" and I almost wish I'd not have known - because now I want one!

These would be Schipperkes and they're supposed to be holy terrors! Not 'fragile' by any means - if anything they appear to get quite vicious if riled up. In fact, they sometimes don't look like dogs at all - more like a Tasmanian Devil. Supposedly good watch dogs, anyway. And a tad bigger - I think in the 20, 30 lb. range.

And they're quite expensive too, like 2K for a Pedigreed one. I began thinking of these again the other day as I was watching a dog show on TV and TJ the Schipperke won in his class. YAY!

They're awfully cute and entertaining anyway smiling smiley

Schipperkes Behaving Badly:



There's tons of sim videos on there, including training videos for these - which might work on your dog too.
Here's one, and the guy mentions the 'little dog' temperament. He's got a whole website on training, you might find some good tips there ~


I wish my friend hadn't told me about these because now I *want one*! I feel like I'm "asking for it" - crazy beasts! I can't believe they're so freaking expensive! GAH.

But, I did find out that most specific breeds have rescue groups so if and when I get one - I will check those first. And not just to save $, but so I can give an already existing dog a home place to bark and howl freely and tear up grinning smiley

Folks who have a certain breed they like - keep this in mind - there are rescue groups out there for specific breeds.
Re: Does anyone here have a small dog?
February 28, 2013
After a while it might be a good idea to let other people handle him. Start with letting people play with him and give him the time to let others earn his trust too. This will help him become more social with other humans. You can also have the other people take him for short walks.

As for soothing/ignoring... it depends on the behavior. Soothing can sometimes be mistaken for good praise, which should be used for cultivating what you want the dog to do. You probably don't need to cajole him into eating if there are problems. Just ignore him and eventually he will eat on his own.

Some dogs eat better on a schedule, others you can free-feed. If he gorges himself, it's better to put him on a schedule.
Re: Does anyone here have a small dog?
February 28, 2013
We have three little dogs and one big one living in the house with us. It sounds like Wolf doesn't have the typical 'Napoleon syndrome' that a lot of small ones have, although that could change as he gets more comfortable with you and his new surroundings. The only thing I'd look out for is he may get possessive of you. My Dobby likes to get in mine or Mom's lap and if any of the other dogs come near or hop up, he snaps at them. Otherwise, a dog is a dog is a dog. Smaller breeds tend to be very social and yes, they will want to be with you all the time. I'm pretty sure Dobby is a Chi/Rat Terrier cross and he was a nervous peer when I first got him, too, although he was also just a puppy. He gets on pretty well with my 'big' dog, although I always watch to make sure they don't get too rough with each other. I think I took this only a week after I brought him home and Strider had already decided he liked his new little brother.


Good luck! I'm very glad the stupid breeders dropped him off instead of killing him though, disgusting. I don't understand how you can have an animal and then just decide to 'not want it' anymore. How do they not get attached to it?!
Re: Does anyone here have a small dog?
February 28, 2013
Wolf is sitting in my lap as I type! I tried taking him into the car with me and he climbed up in my lap... ok if I'm driving, but stopping becomes an issue! So that is no go until I find him a safer way. I've been feeing him once a day, which he seems to do ok with. I cant get him to drink water out of a bowl (he wont get off the bed to get a drink) so I keep h2o in his crate for when I leave, and I put lots of it in his kibbled food. I also suspect he's getting drinks from the chickens waterer and while not efficent is fine.

SatansBitch, I'm not big on the baby talk anyway, so that's not a problem. And thanks for the offer. If you really don't mind, I'm sure I'll be taking you up on it!

Anyone know why he was so scared of everyone in the shelter, but he let me hold him? If he had been more friendly (and they could have seen what I do) he would have been adopted a long time ago. He's so sweet!
Re: Does anyone here have a small dog?
February 28, 2013
For a moment compare the animal shelter to a jail. The guards don't seem very nice, it's loud, the cages are uncomfortable, and the other inmates are literally barking. When you first came to the shelter you seemed like you were there to bail him out. Now that you have bailed him out he's doing everything he knows to make you happy with him. That would break my heart and make me cry if I thought about it too much.

Petco and Petsmart both carry any number of dog seat belts. These can also be ordered online and they aren't expensive.

It seems like he's getting enough water from the chickens' waterer. This might be a dumb question but how do chickens get water??? I have to admit that's not something I've ever seen.

I'm always here if you have questions or just want to talk.
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